Don’t look now, Australia, but you might have a competitor as a men’s underwear hotspot. Vancouver, BC, is starting to grow a whole clutch of fascinating new brands — and it’s not exactly clear why. The air? The mountains? The robust city planning? The decriminalized drugs? In any case, here are a few of the Vancouverite brands which you can try on to see how they hold up against the boys from Down Under.
The first brand up here is one of the more well-known men’s fashion underwear brands, famous for its “live like a kid” philosophy and playful designs and advertising. Ginch Gonch claims to be the brand that “helped launch the fun-derwear industry,” and Ginch Gonch certainly seems to have set an example for fellow Vancouverites to try their luck with men’s designer underwear.
This small operation is given a boost by its unique rear-enhancing jocks, and its small-scale, hand-stitched quality. “The reason why we stay is because Vancouver is a small, beautiful city and [...] there are not too many distractions,” Designer and Founder Ryan McKillop told The Underwear Expert. “We can put our noses to the grind and get work done…Then we play in the ocean, on the mountains and in the forests.”
A committed global brand, Naked was created when its founder Joel Primus was overseas with his non-profit organization, Global Citizen. Nevertheless, he calls Vancouver home, which is why it’s such a good place to get Naked. “I think the local success of Ginch Gonch is an inspiring story and certainly, though less specifically, LuLu Lemon is as well,” Joel said. “Both are sort of passed down through conversation and that gets people thinking ‘Hey, I can and want to do that!’”
Sweat Under Gear
In 2008, two friends founded Sweat Under Gear with an eye toward creating masculine underwear that men of any age could feel good in. The rugged, manly look draws from Vancouver’s past as a center for the logging industry, no doubt. Says Tal, “Vancouver is full of health conscious men that love to play in our expansive outdoor playground, as well as hold down power jobs in the downtown offices. Vancouver designers have therefore become experts at creating underwear lines that are perfect for working in the boardroom, working out in the gym, or playing in the bedroom.”
While on a fishing trip to Alaska, founder Trent Kitsch came up with the idea for Saxx. What’s more Vancouver than that? This tech-packed brand features a pouch with mesh side panels and an articulated front pouch to keep you cool and dry on your own Alaskan fishing trips.
This “underwear for babymaking” was co-founded by a couple who seem quintessentially Vancouver: a “mompreneur” and a farm boy from rural Manitoba who grew up to be a doctor of Chinese medicine, focusing on male reproductive health, i.e. fertility. STUD underwear features a mesh pouch for optimum air circulation and regulating the temperature of the testes, because the cooler they are the more sperm can thrive. In the bedroom, however, STUD heats things up with its sleek designs and luxurious feel.
Pronounced either [sohl.ley.OHN] or [sohl.wuhn], this upstart eco-luxury brand manufactures its stylish wares from bamboo fiber, which is not only naturally wicking, anti-wrinkle and biodegradable, but is made from one of the fastest-growing plants on earth. By sourcing its textiles from bamboo plants, which can grow up to 100 cm day, Soleone helps lessen the net load on cotton, which is often grown with harmful pesticides. It’s this longsighted thinking that sets Soleone apart from the pack.
Whatever the reason, Vancouver looks like it’s already well on its way to being a global center for men’s underwear brands. Why? Even these men who founded their own brands don’t know. It could still be the air. Or maybe it’s because the men there are just exceptionally stylish. Until a definitive answer is found, we’ll just have to be happy that Vancouver’s men share their underwear style with the rest of all of us.